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The greatest letter ever sent home from school

[Slowly rising to my feet. Slowly clapping. Nodding in approval.]

Thank you, Barrowford Primary School, for saying what needed to be said.

[via Reddit]

89 thoughts on “The greatest letter ever sent home from school

      1. Alexis

        Most school teachers do. It’s the lawmakers that created the tests and force teachers to give them.

        Reply
      2. Debbie

        Most teachers do feel this way, but when we encounter the teacher/school who does not it is crushing to the child.

        Reply
    1. Kitten

      That is one special letter give the gift of hope and dreams to all students this is a powerful message I hope other school districts follow suite

      Reply
    2. Holly

      I have always agreed that each child is an individual and will learn in many different fashions. My concern is their self esteen being lessened because of poor scores on these tests, even though they may have may good qualities to suceed in this world. These tests are over done and it is not fair to the children who do not test well.

      Reply
    1. LP

      Robin, whenever I see the phrase, “think outside the box”, I am pushed,spiritually, to say let’s just get rid of the dam box!!! Peace & blessings to! Namaste

      Reply
    2. Thomas E Hale

      they do know, however, that these kids are woefully undereducated in just about every measurable way, from reading to math and science, and their study habits and test taking skills will not get them a job in the real world.

      Reply
      1. Michelle

        My daughter has an IQ of 140. She gets A’s and B’s but fails these freaking tests. She lives outside the box. She is a charmer that every one loves. I am not to worried about her not getting a job because these tests don’t measure who she really is.

        Reply
      2. Jon

        Actually, performance on standardized tests is not an accurate measure of their ability to get a job. And, if you look at any research anywhere in education, there is a correlation between creativity and participation in the arts and academic success. Why? Because learning a musical instrument requires cognitive ability and discipline that give young people the mental flexibility and dexterity to think about complex and abstract ideas (like algebraic formulas, for example). Writing poetry/prose helps students work with language and expression on their own terms, and reading helps them develop models of how to construct sentences and phrases while expanding vocabulary and the understanding of word meanings. Working in artistic crafts teaches creativity, working with hands, looking meaningfully at concepts like order and balance, and placing value on expressions of imagination and creation, among other things. Participation in sports teaches discipline, teamwork, and physical coordination. They help us to be competitive yet cooperative, how to work with others and how to work against others in a way that is respectful of the rules of the game and for decency in conduct. And, most standardized tests fail utterly in measuring aptitude in the arts or discovering the types of experiential learning that are also a part of who these kids are, even though they are important parts of the development of children at this young age.

        Reply
  1. Jera Garrison-Robertson

    Testing students has become ridiculous. We need more data! We need more accountability! We need more growth! Give me a break!

    Reply
    1. gojirademonstah

      The failure is yours. There is a big difference between coddling and building confidence / self respect, and you just missed a heaping helping of the latter.

      Reply
    2. Scout Finch100

      People like you are why schools fail on every level – apathetic jerks who sit behind their computers knocking anything they don’t understand

      Reply
    3. tmellon02

      I might suggest some therapy for your unresolved issues. This was a PHENOMENAL letter that actually bolsters the factors that make a well-rounded individual. The type of individual that invents new things, creates new art. An individual who is self-sufficient, and compassionate. The type who wants to pass along the same qualities to their kids, an act which benefits society. I wish you the best. I hope that you find your compassion and learn that acting in a kind manner doesn’t preclude productivity or success in life, but actually increases the odds. :-)

      Reply
  2. Mitchell Rubinstein

    Yes, I love the letter. And I’d like to meet the person who thought to write it. But the NEED for such a letter is a sign of a deep, penetrating wound in our educational system. I hope it is not to late to heal it.

    Reply
  3. Linda Stmpson

    Thank you. This letter could have easily been written by just about any public school teacher in the US. Sad really.

    Reply
    1. Laura

      Ironically, this letter was indeed written by a principal in the United States and has been sent home for years with my child’s MCAS scores.

      Reply
      1. Sean

        She was a teacher not a principal,
        A former Massachusetts Teacher of the Year who wrote it the year the MCAS started.

        Reply
  4. Wayne

    Sounds like its all a bunch of bullshit to me…One person says it comes from a school from England, another say from US school, another says their principal has been doing it for years…Just like America, some come up with a great idea and rather than creating one yourself you just steal that other’s idea and say its your own….The funniest part – the School doesn’t even exist. This letter is totally fake…Like any teach is smart enough to actual come up with a though outside of the box. That would be extracurricular activity that they would have to get paid extra for..

    Reply
    1. Matt

      http://www.barrowford.lancs.sch.uk/
      People oddly do take credit for others work and that is very sad, however seems you did similar by saying nothing exists all together. “Ain’t no sunshine” when your mind is gone, “let the sun shine”. Good day. Amazing and inspirational letter Barrowford.

      Reply
    2. bjkjsh

      “Like any teach is smart enough to actual come up with a though outside of the box. That would be extracurricular activity that they would have to get paid extra for..” – if you’re going to insult the intelligence of a group of people, you might want to proofread so that you don’t come off looking ignorant. I don’t know where you are, but teachers in my state work many, many hours “off the clock” and are never compensated.

      Reply
    3. Sean

      The letter is real but I’m not sure how they got it. It was written 15 years ago and published in a newspaper in the United States.

      Reply
    4. maryginley

      Just want you to know the letter isn’t fake. I wrote it in 2000 …an open letter to kids that was published in the Springfield Republican in Springfield, Massachusetts USA.

      Reply
      1. Susan Hauger

        Mary,
        Thank you for your excellent response to children that attempts to put testing where it should be.. Too often we adults forgets hat a standardized text is a best a snapshot and will never begin to tell us the important things about a student -ones that really matter. Reading, writing, math, science and social are important certainly, but useless if not accompanied by curiosity, perseverance, and the desire to learn and explore. The latter will never be measured well by standardized testing.

        Reply
      2. Nettie Loomis

        This letter is beautiful! It does not spoil the child, it points out we are all different and can still succeed even when we don’t follow the crowd! Children need discipline/rules and love/compassion to become well balanced adults. I read it to my son who is going into third grade and we ended up having a 10 minute conversation about it. I am very nervous about the tests to come even though he is very smart, he just cant sit still. This letter gave me hope!!! You NAILED it Mary, Thank You!!!!!!!

        Reply
    5. Tammy

      I’m very sorry that you have never had a teacher that did love and care about you as a person. Fortunately, the teachers I work with and most of the teachers that have led my three children do feel this way about their students. I love each and every one of my students and seek to know them on a personal level. They are not a test score or a growth factor to me. They are real children with wonderful minds and amazing creativity!! So please do not lump every teacher into your assanine category of your feelings about teachers. Get educated on what real teachers think and do in the classroom. Then maybe you can form an opinion that others will render worthwhile.

      Reply
    6. kim

      Wayne..why don’t you check your spelling moron..have you ever been a teacher? If not shut the hell up about something you know nothing about…

      Reply
  5. Concerned Mom

    This letter could be perceived in many different ways. It appears to me that it’s a sorry attempt at rescuing what’s already been lost within the school system. All public school systems care about is popularity and money. They put the lives of our children at stake by subjecting them to undue negative self images, fear, and social warfare. It disgusts me.

    Reply
    1. Tammy

      Please don’t say “all” when referring to public school systems. I hardly think you have authority to speak for each and every school system! I’m so sorry that your experience with public schools hasn’t gone well. However there are wonderful public school systems that put children’s best interests at heart every single day. I happen to work for one of them and love my experience as a teacher!

      Reply
  6. Sean

    Wow, have we become so cynical that you tear a letter meant to inspire. We are not defined by one aspect of our lives. Children should be praised and taught to be more. This letter, whom ever wrote it, should be the ideology of how we treat our kids. They are more then the sum. I guess a few people here weren’t hug as a child.

    Reply
    1. cyn3wulf

      This is one of the many problems with the current wave of education “reform.” it equates education with job prep. What a shallow, and historically incorrect, view of education. By the way, any hiring manager that ignores interpersonal skills is a detriment to his workplace.

      Reply
      1. Karen

        I agree. I teach kids what employers look for, and some of the most important skills they say young people today are lacking include the interpersonal skills or “soft skills” as they call them, such as working as part of a team, communication skills, (both verbal and written) in addition to honesty, promptness, dependability, etc. Very basic stuff. (You would think)

        Reply
  7. 1frank1

    As a teacher. I love this letter! I find all kids want to succeed, but all have different strengths and weaknesses. This letter would allow each child to know they are more important to me than test scores. The pressure put on teachers to produce test scores from poorly written tests are creating teachers who forget to teach holistically. I love my kids more than scores!

    Reply
  8. Estelle

    This is an awesome letter! Kudos to the teacher/administrator that wrote it, and best wishes to Charlie Owen. I hope he is inspired to do great things! (However, test scores also don’t reflect how the teacher teaches – some teach to the test, so their students get a good score, so it looks good on the teacher’s reports and it really doesn’t reflect what the student has learned.)

    Reply
  9. Sean

    My mom actually wrote this letter about 15 years ago and it was published in the Springfield (Massachusetts) Newspaper. She is thrilled that this letter has lived on for so many years but said it was the least edited thing she ever wrote!

    Reply
    1. RNJen

      Thank goodness for her!! Edited or not, it speaks to the heart of all the children who the system will deem “unsatisfactory” in some form. It’s not an excuse for “poor performance” as some say, but an encouragement that your test scores are not YOU! Give your mom a hug from me!

      Reply
  10. MrsWard

    If you read the principals interview, she clearly says where she got the letter and that she did not write it, but thought it was brilliant!

    Reply
  11. CFB

    Reblogged this on lit! and commented:
    Over-defining “smart” and “educated” might just be a means of control. Maybe more frequently I should think on Mark Twain: “I’ve never let my schooling interfere with my education.”

    Reply
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  14. Sarahjane

    The Deanes school
    In Thundersley do this already and have for years x I receive the most loveliest letters about how well and important me girjs are x and they get postcards from departments saying thank you x I never knew other schools never done this so this isn’t new to me x but I know my girjs are great just nice the school care loads x so well done the Desnes school x

    Reply
  15. Cleo A. Lampos

    I don’t care who wrote it or in what country. It simply states that a child is more than test scores. Much more. Their value and uniqueness comes from a myriad components, the least of which is test scores.

    Reply
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  17. Rosanne Allen-Hewlett

    Thank you for sharing this letter. Our Teacher’s Advisory lead, shared it to our fb page. This sentiment reminds me of the importance of ‘Emotional Intelligence’, now being recognized in some circles. It needs come forward into the spotlight, and continue on to resumes, job interviews and management methods. Old, and out-dated systems must change with the times for the good of all kids’ futures. After all .. Their future is our future.
    Rosanne Allen-Hewlett
    CEO
    LiteHart.org
    fb: http://www.facebook.com/litehartinfo

    Reply
  18. Marie

    I am 61 years old and was just an average student. I did, however, do well in the arts, athletics, and English/Spelling and reading. I did not test well and because of that, I felt that nothing I did was ever worth much. I believe it would have changed my entire outlook if just once, some took the time to praise me for the things I did do well. I wouldn’t have felt coddled or babied, but, I truly believe that I was made to feel good about the things I could do well, I may have tried harder to do well in the subjects I struggled with. (My mother was not very nurturing, my father died when I was very young so if a teacher had taken just a moment to say something like what is in the letter to me, my self worth and desire to achieve would have probably taken a completely different course). And, I didn’t go to a public school.

    Reply
  19. shaen johnston

    I note all the teachers here, talking about nurturing….out of the box and all the other nice sounding phrases that in the light of day mean nothing. I left school over 40 years ago and I watch the media…..and I Note again, nothing has changed at school for the better. The teachers get older and want bigger carpets under their desks and people like Marie and I live with the hurt of lost chances everyday.
    And Nothing changes again.

    Reply
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  21. Joe Psi

    Garbage clap trap.

    Everyone is special and wonderful, even if they’re failures?

    Failing at things is important because you can always improve.

    Sitting around “knowing” you’re special and wonderful anyways as some sort of soothing sentiment seems to imply it doesn’t matter if you failed at the effort at hand.

    A score on a test is just that, a score of your aptitude on that topic. If you failed at that topic, you FAILED that topic.

    Perhaps you’re exceptional at something else, but that has little to do with your scores on the test you FAILED.

    We’re developing a society of weaklings who’d rather feel good than be great.

    Reply
  22. Momof8

    Interesting that this letter is a form letter. Every kid in the school gets it. There is nothing in the letter that is personalized for the child receiving it. Some of the teachers at our schools actually took the time to write a short personal note (key words: some, personal, and short) to each student. MUCH more meaningful!

    Reply
  23. Wendy

    More pressure is put on children by everyone complaining about the tests. When I was a student, the way I thought about standardized tests were, “Hooray. Today we do something different and don’t have our normal classes.” And I never thought about the test again after that day. I’m sure there were complaints then, too, but those complaints need to be kept between the adults. The kids don’t need to be instilled with a fear that they are going to make their teacher lose his or her job if they don’t do well on the test, or feel that their worth as a person is in any way affected by a standardized test. The schools are the ones who put the pressure on in the first place. They wouldn’t need a letter like this if they didn’t make the children fear it.

    Reply
  24. Rick

    Wake up people. These are the same kids that are now early 20’s that I can’t keep employed. Anyone working in business knows exactly what I am talking about.
    Work and jobs are like taking a standardized test over and over. Unless uou are a musician or in that industry your ability to play the piano or an instrument has a big fat Zeo to do with anything I hire you to do.
    Do most “fail” the first test or task I give them when hired? Sure, so we train more until you are proficient in the task. When I was a kid the idea instilled was that failure wasn’t an option. If you fail a test you work twice as hard for the next one. You didn’t make an excuse and you weren’t made to feel special over failure. The purpose of this was to instill hardwork in young people.
    That’s right I actually said that out loud -Hard Work.

    Reply
  25. Ed Huette

    I still am looking for the reason teachers oppose having an artistic, creative, friendly, caring, athletic, brilliant
    student being required to learn readin, riting and ritmatki.

    Reply
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